Well, deck us all with Boston Charlie, as Pogo and crew used to sing every year. It is again the season of cheer and good will. And in that spirit, as a special holiday treat, we proudly present ... Trial of the Warlock, by Norman Mailer. What can we say? At least it's on a religious subject. After a career of surprises, Mailer gives us yet another--a screen adaptation of a demonic novel called Là-Bas, by J. K. Huysmans, who was one of the more notorious obscure French novelists of the last century. The setting is fin de siècle Paris. One Monsieur Durtal moves among his friends and pursues his research on a book about Gilles de Rais--a 15th Century companion of Joan of Arc who saw her burned at the stake and later went on trial as one of history's all-time, high-scoring monsters. Durtal is soon obsessed with him and is drawn toward Satanism and, as his life in 1890 becomes counterpoint to Gilles's horrible career four centuries earlier, the narrative moves along in dark parallel, fading back and forth between them. In some ways, it is less a departure for Mailer than it seems; beneath the sensational events, it's an epic metaphysical struggle between good and evil--and, in other forms, that's a familiar battleground for Mailer. So let's call it his Paradise Lost and thank him for remaining complicated.
Playboy, December, 1976, Volume 23, Number 12. Published monthly by Playboy, Playboy Building, 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611, Subscriptions: In The United States, its possessions and Canada, $30 for three years, $22 for two years, $12 for one year, elsewhere $25 per year. Allow 30 days for new subscriptions and renewals. Change of Address: Send both old and New Addresses to Playboy, P.O. Box 2420, Boulder, Colorado 80302 and allow 30 days for change. Marketing: Nelson Futch, Marketing Manager; Lee Gottlieb, Director of Public Relations. Advertising: Henry W. Marks, Advertising Director; Harold Duchin, National Sales Manager, 747 Third Ave., New York, N.Y. 10017; Sherman Keats, Western Regional Director and Associate Advertising Manager, John Thompson, Central Regional Director and Associate Advertising Manager, 919 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611; Atlanta, Richard Christiansen, Manager, 3340 Peachtree Rd., N.E.; Detroit, William F. Moore, Manager, 818 Fishes Bldg.; Los Angeles, Stanley L. Perkins, Manager, 8721 Beverly Blvd.; San Francisco, Robert E. Stephens, Manager, 417 Montgomery St.
Here at Playboy, we take pride in being a bit ahead of the times, but occasionally we surprise even ourself. The rest of the media discovered only this year that various members of the Carter clan of Plains, Georgia, made good copy. We knew it in May 1967, when--in this very space--we told you all about the mail-order worm-and-cricket business run by Jimmy's cousin Hugh. On rereading the copy the other day, we noted that back in 1967, cousin Hugh was offering-- for two dollars postpaid anywhere in the U. S.--"a beautiful ice bucket packed with pure worm castings." This came to mind when we read that, recently, a group of Plains business people, including Jimmy's sister Gloria, was trying, despite Jimmy's attempts to call it off, to retail square inches of land in downtown Plains for five dollars apiece. Just goes to show you, we guess, what happens when honest wormshit gets promoted to the status of bullshit.
Being the sort who hates to see things go to waste, I once retrieved a perfectly serviceable bird cage from my neighbor's trash can. This impressed my girlfriend, Jean, who took to calling me, in tender moments, "My very own garbage collector." I decided to show her that a bird cage was at least as useful as the salvaged fire extinguisher or the battered pith helmet; I'd put a damn bird in it.
Bay City Rollers concerts Ought to be outlawed for males over 18--because they attract more jailbait per square foot than most old hearts can stand. Worse, it is mainly jailbait of the Humbert Humbert league, 12-year-old heartbreakers, 13-year-old foxes: and, even worse, well, there is this phenomenon called Roller-mania....
A California bail bondsman meets a wild gypsy girl who lives with him, leaves him and disrupts his dull but ordered existence by turning up again, a year or so later, in jail. How the bondsman bails her out and becomes hopelessly ensnared again is the tale of Alex and the Gypsy, co-starring Jack Lemmon and Genevieve Bujold. Director John Korty, known for such appealingly quirky small-canvas films as Crazy Quilt and Riverrun (as well as for last year's TV hit The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman), obviously finds gypsies irresistible. Though he is handicapped by a soso screenplay, Korty's underlying purpose is to weigh the values of the straight world against the freedom, irresponsibility and all-embracing spontaneity of the gypsy life. Their ways are certainly winning as embodied by Bujold, who continues to build her reputation as a gifted, versatile actress who so submerges her own personality in each character she portrays that she has not yet established a star image in the public eye. Perhaps she just doesn't give a damn or cares more about transforming every part she takes into vivid proof that there are good roles for women if the right women happen to play them. Bujold is decidedly the main attraction of Alex and the Gypsy, despite a finely sliced wedge of Lemmon at his most sardonic.
Edging into social acceptability on the heels of the soft-core, X-rated Alice in Wonderland, producer-director Jonas Middleton's Through the Looking Glass is the latest landmark movie to display beaver as if it were raunch mink, proving again that hard-core can be handled with class. Dell's paperback prose version of Looking Glass describes it with reasonable accuracy as "a seething novel of supernatural sex." The demonic tale bears absolutely no resemblance to Lewis Carroll's children's classic, beyond the title; it's mainly a psychological thriller, a study of obsessive narcissism focused on the face, figure and psyche of a rich, beautiful young woman whose sensual wonderland lies behind a mirror in a murky attic room. She seems to have had an incestuous relationship with her father, now deceased, who looked a lot like the lusty blue-skinned brute who keeps groping her from beyond the pale every time she sneaks upstairs to primp (in this dual role as seducer, Jamie Gillis stands out both phallically and dramatically). The story need not be taken too seriously, but neither can it be scoffed at as just another piece of sloppy pornography pretending to be a real movie. Director Middleton has obviously learned a lot since his last low-budget effort, Illusions of a Lady; Looking Glass is porno with a privileged air--beautifully photographed, sharply edited and spooked up with a richly atmospheric musical score by Arlon Ober. Topping the film's list of natural advantages is leading lady Catharine Burgess, an extravagantly beautiful blonde who claims that a double performed her hardest-core close-ups (in any case, it's a deception so skillful you'll hardly notice). Though she lacks acting experience, Catharine clicks in front of a camera as all sex symbols instinctively do, looks sexiest with her clothes on and is probably on her way to bigger--if not barer--conquests.
Truman Capote has been called many things--from literary gadfly to serious writer--and his long-awaited novel "Answered Prayers" isn't going to set the record straight if the reaction to the three chapters previewed in Esquire is any indication of what's to come. The media went crazy speculating about the real identities of his characters--which Capote says isn't the point of the novel at all. So Playboy sent writer Beverly Gary Kempton to talk with him in an attempt to untangle media event from literary event.
Death row gets frighteningly quiet the night of an execution. Most of the men lie on their beds, reading or listening to the radio on their headphones, respecting the right of the condemned man to be left alone in peace and quiet. But it was neither peaceful nor quiet on the row the night Joey Ernst burned.
Not long ago, Johnny Carson was talking about Ron Nessen, the White House press secretary who was formerly NBC's White House correspondent. Carson was struggling to define Nessen's job. He finally concluded that when Jerry Ford had nothing to say, Nessen's job was to put it into words.
I am a young man who has some difficulty meeting women. For one thing, I stay as far as possible from the madding crowds of singles bars. But what are the alternatives? Do you have any suggestions? I'd even consider computer dating.--D. W., New York, New York.
Only a few weeks before we went to press, the national guessing game surrounding O. J. Simpson's football future had at last been resolved. Simpson, who last June announced he'd retire if he weren't traded from the Buffalo Bills to a West Coast team, changed his mind at the last moment. With the pro-season opener a day away--and with the Bills having failed to trade him--Simpson signed the most lucrative player contract in the history of U. S. football. For him, it meant he'd receive a reported $2,500,000 if he completes three more seasons of autumnal glory; for the Bills and the National Football League, it meant that football's most spectacular performer--and leading gate attraction--would continue to dazzle the sporting public.
To Faithful readers of Playboy, the name Pompeo Posar is synonymous with the glamor that comes from 16 years of photographing thousands of gorgeous ladies--often in some of the world's most exotic locales. He holds the record both for Playmate shootings (45) and for Playboy covers (38). His ability to capture the woman he's photographing as a person rather than as a prop is legendary. Born in Trieste, Posar is still very Continental--sensitive, considerate, patient and enthusiastic--and it shows in his work. Here, we present positive evidence of Posar's exceptional picture-taking talent.
Are You Sexually Liberated Enough to Make It with More Than One Person or Species at the Same Time a
James R. Petersen
If you answered yes to the title of this quiz, then you are probably liberated. Or weird. Or both. Don't let that stop you from tackling the rest of the questions presented here. The sexual revolution has been going on for decades. We figure that it is time to identify the patriots, the victors, the free souls who were there in the vanguard--shoulder to shoulder, thigh to thigh, chest to breast, whatever. You know who you are. If not, take the following quiz and find out. We have divided the inquiry into several sections that test your knowledge of the basics (different strokes, erogenous zones and sexual accessories), your willingness to carry the battle out of the bedroom and onto the beaches, your actual frontline experience and, finally, your over-all ability to survive in the man-eat-woman world of orgies. The authors would like to make it clear that the answers to the following questions do reflect the views of the management. Good luck. You may begin at any time.
In the past 15 years, by rough count, I have spent 6000 hours in gyms. Had I invested that time in the study of the slime mold, mankind, not to speak of the slime mold, might very well have been enriched by my observations. As it is, I have developed firm arms and am able to dash off suddenly and race after taxicabs in the rain, catching up with them a block away and thereby delighting dinner dates. I am winded after these exercises but appear to be less so than the next fellow.
Like Thousands of girls before her, Bronx-born Karen Hafter decided one summer day to cast her fate to the wind and go out to Hollywood. It was an impulsive decision at best. "Hollywood just seemed like such a strange, exciting place," says Karen. "A new frontier." She'd been working as a cook in a bar and grill in New Paltz, New York, to finance her college education, and the prospect of another term of dull classes and then hunting for a dismal nine-to-five job in Manhattan didn't exactly fill her with unrestrained rapture. So Karen packed up her troubles, plus a change or two of clothes, and caught the first train to Los Angeles. She would have taken a jet, except that she's terrified of flying--and, besides, trains are infinitely more romantic--they give a girl a chance to think, to dream, perchance even to fantasize. The journey lasted four days. "I felt a mixture of things during the trip," Karen reflects. "Excitement at the prospect of approaching a new life and emptiness because I was leaving home for the first time." Again like thousands of girls before her, Karen Hafter, upon arriving in Tinseltown, took a whirlwind tour of the place and, thereupon, decided that if a girl wants to be seen, Sunset Boulevard is the place to be. So, without much trouble, she landed a waitressing job at David's Potbelly, a restaurant on--you guessed it--Sunset Boulevard, where who should stroll in one day but Anne Randall (our May 1967 Playmate). "She was staring at me from the moment she walked in," says Karen. "Finally, she came over and asked me if I'd be interested in trying out for a Playboy centerfold. If she'd been a man, I would have said no--for obvious reasons." The rest, as they say in showbiz, is history. Looking back, Karen seems a bit awe-struck by her own rapid success: "I never thought I'd be a Playmate, never in my wildest dreams," she says. "I was always a tall, scrawny kid. Everybody was wearing a bra before me. I didn't start to fill out until I was 16." Better late than never.
Telling her office co-workers about her month-long vacation, the girl said, "And one of the best things about it was that I finally got to play the female lead in an amateur theatrical production at the resort!"
Presidential Philandering is as old and respectable a tradition as the Presidency itself. George Washington introduced it when he took the job in 1789 and it's been going on in random but healthy spurts ever since. Of course, not all of our Chief Executives played around, but a lot of them did and the ones who didn't got accused of it anyway by the scandalmongers and the mudslingers. A hundred years ago, a sexual slur or a ribald verse could cost a man the election; nowadays, it's practically a sign of character. Take Nixon, for example: If he'd spent more time violating die opposite sex and less time violating the Constitution, who knows where he'd be today? It's interesting to note in passing that, by and large, our most beloved heads of state have also been our most frequently loved heads of statemen like Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy got more action than men like Van Buren, Fillmore, Coolidge and Hoover; and J.F.K. probably got more than all the others combined.
To All Parties of the first part--now hear this: Bashes will be off the wall this winter. Elegant dress is optional, with drinks and eats the order of the day. A good time is guaranteed, so leave your worries on the doorstep; but don't forget to wipe your feet.
Who is Sylvester Stallone? Check back with us a year from now, if you don't already know the answer. (Or, if you can't wait, see his picture on page 189.) For just about the time that this issue of Playboy hits the stands, Stallone's first starring film, Rocky, will be hitting the screens. And once that happens, there's no way for the husky, unhandsome, 30ish Stallone--Sly to his friends--not to become a major star; indeed, almost the only new sex star of 1976. He managed to buck successfully a system that has been all too efficient in keeping new stars from emerging.
It never fails. It'll happen again next April, when the results of this poll come out. Guaranteed. Every year, when we publish the names of our Music Poll winners, we get a bunch of mumbling and grumbling aimed our way: "Are you kidding? Olivia Newton-Who" "Clapton as Best Guitarist? You gotta be deaf! Roy Rogers could blow him off the stage any time!"
Among the footnotes to the great American Bicentennial, it will be noted that 1976 marked the end of the domestically produced convertible. The final expression of this special breed of automobile came in the form of the Cadillac Eldorado, a leviathan intended to sell for about $12,000 but whose desirability in the face of extinction escalated its black-market price to almost 20 grand. The demise of the Eldo convertible by no means ends the ragtop in the market place. Nearly a dozen models remain, ranging from the compact and lovable MGs to the regal, preposterously priced ($67,500) Rools-Royce Corniche. But the fact is that the convertible's classic role as the ultimate form of automotive frivolity and wretched excess has ended. There was a day not so long ago when the ragtop was the supreme statement of every auto maker--his convertibles, roadsters, cabriolets, etc., were the most expensive and prestigious versions of his wares--but that has changed. Sedans and hardtops have taken the place of the convertible and, considering the hard reality of safety, production costs and shifting consumer interest, it is hard to imagine a time when it will experience a time when it will experience a renaissance.
Once upon a time, in the distant kingdom of Banza, there lived a wise prince named Mangogul. Having distinguished himself early in his reign by conquering cities, pacifying provinces, strengthening laws and founding universities, he turned to more delicious pursuits. One of them was his favorite concubine, the beautiful Mirzoza, who charmed him with highly spiced accounts of the adventures of the ladies of the court. But, she informed him, there lived a genie named Cucufa, now retired from the world, who knew much, much more.
More Nudity! What are you getting me into This time, Wanda? Just because Portnoy is paying for our weekend --Whuff! Grunt! Squeal!Annie, Baby-- Headstone has a fantastic reputation for turning your head around and making you into a beautiful new human being, and look at what a beautiful retreat it is, secluded and peaceful, friendly members relaxing in the whirlpool bath, sounds of barnyard animals, like old MacDonald's farm --
Whether you're a culinary expert or a neophyte, you'll want to arm yourself with quality cooking implements of good design. In that regard, I've selected a number of kitchen items that have personally passed muster in terms of aesthetics, efficiency and cost. Cost alone, however, has never been the prime factor of utility. You can spend $60 on a copper-and-ceramic double boiler--or you can do as I do and opt for a $12.95 Pyrex model. Why? Because when cooking over water, the first thing I want to know is how the water is acting. Is it boiling furiously or has it evaporated, leaving the bottom of the pan to scorch? And glass lets me see the first sign of a sauce curdling.
Until recently, the diaphragm was so far out of style that anyone under 30 who viewed such a device might have guessed it was an indoor Frisbee. But worries over the pill, problems with the I.U.D. and the usual objections to the condom have led to the diaphragm's rediscovery. This would be just fine; the more contraceptive options available, the fewer abortions or unwanted babies. The only trouble is, there seems to be a faddish quality to the revival of this venerable antique and a tendency to gloss over the inherent disadvantages that took it out of circulation in the first place.
Not so long ago, fashion accessories and other details that added the final personalizing touches to clothes were geared to outrageously self-assertive statements. Pop art, op art, studs, fringe and embroidery were used to excess, lest the point of hip emancipation be missed.
Right now, Toronto's Yorkville area is at the same critical stage of development as that of a young provincial sweetheart who's about to become a rich bitch. She's right on the cusp--get to know her before she makes it. Over the years, Yorkville has grown from a pretty village suburb to an inner-city, artsy-craftsy bohemia of jazz and folk clubs (Lonnie Johnson ran a night spot here, Buddy Tate jammed with friends, while Phil Ochs, Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot scribbled songs in the back alleys). In the Sixties, the area was a mother's nightmare of deflowerings, dope and demonstrations, whose youthful sinfulness was so infectious that newly elected Prime Minister Trudeau was photographed one night swinging by his hands from a lamppost.